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In Their Own Words

December 29, 1737

Fugitive Escaped Colonial Georgia

William Stephens wrote in his journal of a man escaping justice:

“…An Execution under the Town Seal was granted against one Turner, a Carpenter, for Payment of a just Debt of 5 or 6 l. and put into the Hands of a proper Tything-man to serve : When the Tything-man went to make Distress, Turner and his Wife used him very roughly, shuffled away betwixt them what Goods were of most Value, and sent him off not without some Blows in the Contention; whereupon he complained to the Magis- trates, and they granted a Warrant immediately, to ap- prehend Turner, and bring him before them to answer, &c. but he getting Notice somehow or other of it, lay concealed in the House of one Scot a Gunsmith, and a notorious Dealer in Spirits; who with other Help, took a fit opportunity to carry him off in a Boat : Mr. Christie, the Recorder, being accidently at the same Time near the Guard-House, and seeing the Boat going off with Turner in it, ordered the Centinel to fire his Piece (a signal for his Officer to come as customary) and to hale the Boat to come ashore, threatening to fire at them if they did not : But they in the Boat called to him in Derision, bidding them fire, or what else they pleased ; and kept on their Way till they were soon out of Reach. This Turner also lies under a heavy Fine to the Trust, being formerly found guilty of aiding Mellichamp in forging Currency Notes ; which in Mercy was never yet levied upon him ; and owing many other small Sums, it is apprehended he will not return again, but take Example of other Run- aways lately gone the same Way. “

Source: Allen D. Candler, ed. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. IV, Stephens’ Journal 1737-1740, Atlanta, GA, 1906, pp. 58-59.